Joel Sturm – Final Project


Joel Sturm, Final Project, Acrylic on Paper and Photoshop, 11×17

I wanted my final project to be a Piece that included some things I am comfortable with, and some elements that I’m less confident about. I have used a whole lot of photos of myself as references for paintings and sketches this semester. I’ve never really been happy with my mouths on any of them, so that’s one thing I wanted to focus on with this piece.

I really enjoyed doing two tone, expressive, and bright colors on a white backdrop. There’s something about the sharpness that appeals to me. I decided to do two tone colors with a focus on color temperature. I wanted to focus on body language that the mouths were conveying, then try and give them fitting colors for the moods. I feel like with these goals, the themes of the piece would fit well together. Finally, I decided I wanted at least 4 mouths for even spacing, and to be able to easily apply the rule of thirds.

I started by sketching a larger version of the mouths from my proposal sketch. I did a few color tests on my old sketch, then started applying colors to each mouth. I feel like the two tone element didn’t come out uniformly on each mouth. The purple one is my biggest issue. It was originally yellow and purple, but it threw the balance of the colors in the piece way off. The whole left side was lopsidedly yellow. When I brought the piece into photoshop to do some finishing on it, I altered the hue and saturation of the purple mouth to where purple  was the primary color, and the secondary color was now blue. Even though the other bottom mouth has blue, they are both secondary, so it doesn’t throw the balance off.

I was happy with how the red mouth came out, but I had to color correct it in photoshop as well to make it a richer red. The cost was that the purple in the mouth is less evident, making it look closer to monochrome.

I considered not doing the facial hair, but the mouths looked a little naked with their crisp outlines on the white background. The facial hair was able to distinguish itself from the lips and teeth by having less solid outlines. At the same time, I may have been able to tie it in better by adding dark or black whiskers alongside the two-tone strokes.

I think that the yellow mouth works well. Bright yellow with orange does a good job of conveying joy and excitement, matching the mouth. After color correcting the red mouth, I think that it pulls off anger well. I was also happy to have the mustache for this one to give a bit more expression over the snarled lip. The purple one I am least confident about, but hey, maybe that conveys the awkward mood I was going for it. I think that it is maybe less subtle that its color was altered in photoshop. The blue and green mouth I wanted to show as calm at at peace. I think that it worked alright, but I would have liked to get a few more hues of green in there.

I think that despite a few weak points, the piece as a whole accomplishes its goal. The colors and emotions feel in sync to me, and i think the simple composition keeps the focus on the interest points.  My largest concern is that my choice to have a white background may make the piece feel too barren. I considered several backgrounds, or auras for the mouths, but ultimately decided against it.

I really enjoyed sketching and painting something, then moving it to digital editing for large changes. I haven’t really used photoshop for my paintings other than auto color and auto contrasting, so it was really nice to use it for a major change in color.

Joel S – Final Project Proposal



When I was thinking of what I wanted to do for my final project, I was planning on doing another project with hands. I really like drawing them, and the ones I’ve done in exercised with bright color were a lot of fun. I haven’t been very happy with the mouths I’ve produced in the past, so I wanted to focus on that instead. I took a few pictures of my face for reference, then sketched them on to some paper. I’m still not sure if I want to do this in acrylic or digital, but I’m leaning towards painting the piece.


The idea would be to color the different mouths to match the emotion that those colors could be conveying. Since body language conveys a lot of meaning, I’m hoping I can take the shape of the mouth, and further detail the emotion with color. In our color temperature exercise, we went over which emotions are associated. I think that I would like to paint them monochrome or two-tone expressive. I think that two tone could make some good combinations.

The following are what I’m currently considering for color combos:
Top Left: Yellow and Orange to show happiness with a bit of  excitement
Top Right: Bright red with Orange, intense glow for anger
Bottom Left: Green and Purple, this should clash more than the others and hopefully convey disgust or fear, just general discomfort
Bottom Right: Green and Blue, Calm, relaxed.

I plan to use a few hues of each color, and use them for the mustache if I decide to keep it in.


Since I want to use for mouths to evenly fill up the board, I’m going to use the rule of thirds to position them, since the rule of odds will be out. I think that it will lend itself well to a white background, but even if it doesn’t , I’ll have a easy time applying one afterwards. I’ve been having a better time with black paint for outlines. I’m starting to get a lot more comfortable with my brush strokes which is a relief.


I  really like having these bright colors on the white background. It makes everything look really crisp. I think I’m going to do the same this with the mouths. I started drawing the cheek lines, but I think I’m going to get rid of them. I’m going to just use the lip shape and mustache to give the mouth dimension. I didn’t have very much shading on my sketch, but that’s something I plan on really working in once I am ready to paint. I hope to use the two tone for expressive color shading. Facial hair is another thing that I’ve always had a hard time with, so hopefully I can tackle it here. I was happy with how the ‘stache looked in my reference photos, individual whiskers had a lot of variance in their brightness. Hopefully with some appropriate colored paint I can recreate the whiskers.

I’m excited to get started on this now that it’s all planned out.

Joel S – Project 3

The other day I had some Thai food, and I spent time appreciating the little takeout boxes you get at restaurants. I wanted to use the folded creases on the side of the box for something, so I kind of worked backwards on this project, starting with a container, then making a product.


Here the piece is laid out, the sleeves are separate from the wizards they belong to in this stage.


And here are the rest of the views.

p3-4 p3-3 p3-6p3-2    p3-5p3-7

Joel S – Color Contrast


I think I could have more contrast between the two examples. I varied on how I got each hue between colors, sometimes the related colors would have black or white added, and sometimes it would just be different ratios of colors. then I just shaded a bit more and did some outlines with black. If I added a background, that would also provide a bit more contrast between the two.

Joel S – Color Uses

1-1) Bezold Effect


1-2) Expressive Color


1-3) Color Discord


Expressive color was probably my favorite painting for this exercise. I don’t think my bezold effect worked very well since i didn’t really have a pattern, just something radially symmetrical. Color discord was pretty fun, It was cool to use with hard lined geometry.

Joel S – Color Relationship

points Face

I had a hard time making all of the points consistent in shape and uniformity. The picture works better for me as a thunbnail, lol.
I tried to do a self-portrait like Van-Gogh’s, specifically the line structure for shading. I don’t think that it looks much like his style, but it was cool working with patterned lines like that. I think I could have used more hues between.